River Otter at Blackwater NWR.

It’s still pretty slow around here, so I went to Blackwater this morning. Wading birds are still in short supply, but the Ospreys are about to fledge, and my Red Headed friends are very active.
I checked out the Swallows and Terns at the bridge on Key Wallace Drive, and was lucky enough to run into a River Otter. Otters are cool, and I don’t see enough of them.

Blackwater Dawn 54

Sunrise at Blackwater NWR.

Great Blue Heron 2018-47

This great Blue Heron was the first bird I saw this morning.

Osprey 2018-47 Osprey 2018-46

Osprey 2018-48

These young Osprey will be flying soon.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-47 Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-46 Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-45

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-49

The adult Red Headed Woodpecker is still feeding this youngster.

Eastern Kingbird 2018-20

 

Eastern Kingbird 2018-21

This Eastern Kingbird was flycatching on Key Wallace Drive.

Forster's Tern 2018-95

Forster's Tern 2018-96

A few Forster’s Terns have settled in along Wildlife Drive.

Bald Eagle 2018-60

Bald Eagle 2018-61

Bald Eagles are usually easy to find.

Otter 10

Otter 9

This River Otter was a real treat.

American Avocets at Bombay Hook NWR.

We’ve had too many days of rain lately, which has kept me confined to local spots. Today looked a little more promising, so I took a chance and went to Bombay Hook. There’s nothing worse than committing to a 3 hour drive and then running into bad weather.

I lucked out, weather-wise, but it took a couple of hours before the sun was out and the clouds dispersed. From 6:00-8:00 I found almost nothing, but the sun brought in a lot of birds quickly. Avocets and Ibis were the best, but a fair number of Egrets and Herons were around as well.  Some passerines in the roadside bushes added to the fun.

Eastern Kingbird 2018-19

Several Eastern Kingbirds were flycatching near the road.

Least Sandpiper 2018-9

This group of Least Sandpipers looked to number 75 or more.

Great Egret 2018-50 Great Egret 2018-49 Snowy Egret 2018-18 Snowy Egret 2018-17

Great Egret 2018-51

Great Egrets were in every pool.

Greater Yellowlegs 2018-7

I only saw a few Greater Yellowlegs.

Glossy Ibis 2018-9

5 Glossy Ibis flew over the marsh without stopping.

Snowy Egret 2018-19

It always seems odd to see so many Egrets in a tree.

Short Billed Dowitcher 2018-4

8-10 Short-billed Dowitchers flew overhead.

Goldfinch 2018-12

There are always many Goldfinches at Bombay Hook.

Blue Grosbeak 2018-4

Blue Grosbeak 2018-5

A couple of Blue Grosbeaks were a nice treat.

American Avocet 2018-11

American Avocet 2018-12

40-50 American Avocets were foraging in the marsh.

Glossy Ibis at Sandy Point.

I was hoping to go to the Eastern Shore this morning, but it was pouring rain when I awoke, so I went back to bed and waited for the rain to stop.

I decided to try Sandy point again, because these brief storms sometimes bring stray birds to the beach. I managed to get lucky, even though the light wasn’t much good with the cloudy skies that often show after a storm.

Caspian Tern 2018-15

Two Caspian Terns waited calmly for breakfast.

Snowy Egret 2018-15

Two Snowy Egrets stopped by briefly.

Sanderling 2018-2

I saw this Samderling from a distance, and he walked right up to me.

Ring Billed Gull 2018-1

Ring Billed Gull 2018-2

This Ring Billed Gull has found a meal.

Glossy Ibis 2018-8

I was lucky to spot this Glossy Ibis who flew overhead very quickly.

Little Blue Heron at Sandy Point.

It’s that time of year again. Nesting is over for most birds, so they’re not as active. Migration hasn’t begun yet which means there’s not a lot of movement. I expect things to pick up very soon, but it’s been very slow for about three weeks.

I haven’t gone far in the last few days. It’s been hot, birds are scarce, and inspiration is in short supply. We had a small storm last night, so I tried Sandy Point in hopes of finding some strays.

There were the usual Gulls, in good  numbers, a couple of Terns and Egrets and a surprise juvenile Little Blue Heron. It was a worthwhile trip.

Cardinal 2018-13

I found this Cardinal at Greenbury Point.

Great Egret 2018-47

Great Egret 2018-48

This Great Egret flew in as I was watching the gulls.

Forster's Tern 2018-93

Forster's Tern 2018-94

Two Forster’s Terns were loafing on the beach.

Snowy Egret 2018-13

Snowy Egret 2018-14

This Snowy Egret flew in at the same time as the Little Blue Heron.

Herring Gull 2018-2

These Herring Gulls seemed to be bathing.

Canada Goose 2018-30

Many Canada Geese were grazing in the grass.

Sandpiper 2018-2

I don’t often see Least Sandpipers by themsilves.

Laughing Gull 2018-6

Many Laughing Gulls were present.

Little Blue Heron 2018-4

Little Blue Heron 2018-5

Little Blue Heron 2018-6

I had to study this Little Blue Heron for a few minutes to be sure of the ID.

 

Orchard Oriole at Blackwater NWR.

It’s that time of year when birds are hard to find. Most have finished raising young, so they’re less active, and there’s no migratory movement going on. I exxpect thing to pick up in a few weeks.

I’ve been hitting the usual places, with shortened days due to the heat. There’s a few finds here and there, but nothing really exciting.

I went to Blackwater again this morning, and it was an improvement. Still no egrets or sandpipers, but a few images are good enough to publish.

Sandy Point 510

Sandy Point 511

Dawn at Sandy Point.

Osprey 2018-42 Osprey 2018-41 Osprey 2018-40 Osprey 2018-39

Osprey 2018-44

Osprey young have not quite finished fledging.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-43 Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-42

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-44

Red Headed Woodpeckers are still quite active.

Great Blue Heron 2018-45

Only a few Great Blue herons were hanging around.

Orchard Oriole 2018-16 Orchard Oriole 2018-14 Orchard Oriole 2018-15

Orchard Oriole 2018-17

This female Orchard Oriole landed right near me.

Tree Swallow 2018-47

Barn Swallow 2018-13

Tree Swallows and Barn Swallows have finished nesting and are gathering in groups.

Least Tern 2018-4

Least Tern 2018-5

Least Terns are fishing at Terrapin.

 

Fox 106

This Fox was foraging at Blackwater.

Glossy Ibis at Bombay Hook NWR.

Graeme, Prayoon and I headed out very early to Bombay Hook in hopes of finding some birds we don’t get to see around here. The water was still low, but we found a few interesting specimens anyway.

There weren’t many people visiting, and there were far fewer wading birds than my last visit.  We could see a decent sized flock in the distance, but much too far away to get decent images.

Some Terns were very active, and many Herons were fishing, but Egrets were not numerous. The insect population seems to be less, for some reason. We didn’t miss them.

Greater Yellowlegs 2018-5

Greater Yellowlegs 2018-6

Many Greater Yellowlegs were foraging in the distance.

Tree Swallow 2018-46

There’s still many Swallows in the marsh.

Forster's Tern 2018-90 Forster's Tern 2018-89 Forster's Tern 2018-88 Forster's Tern 2018-87 Forster's Tern 2018-86

Forster's Tern 2018-91

This Forster’s Tern has found a large fish.

Killdeer 2018-1

Several Killdeer were feeding at the edge of the marsh.

Black Necked Stilt 2018-16

Black Necked Stilt 2018-17

This flock of Black Necked Stilts flew quickly by us.

Mallard 2018-36

A lone Mallard was hanging with the Herons.

Laughing Gull 2018-5

We saw a couple of Laughing Gulls.

Great Blue Heron 2018-41

Red Winged Blackbird 2018-34

Red Winged Blackbirds can be seen and heard everywhere you go.

Glossy Ibis 2018-7

A few Glossy Ibis flew by close enough to photograph.

Eastern Kingbird at Blackwater NWR.

It was much cooler the last couple of days, but too windy yesterday.  I set out early for Blackwater, and it was OK, if not spectacular. Egrets, Herons and Sandpipers just aren’t out in numbers yet.

I did find a few parents with chicks, some Eagles and Herons, but the star today was the Red headed Woodpecker.  They were very active. including mating and fetching food for their chicks. I was hoping for more variety, but it didn’t happen.

I don’t usually talk about such things, but I ran over a Raccoon this morning. There were three, right in the middle of the road. It was still quite dark, and there wasn’t anything I could do. I haven’t hit many animals in a car, and it wasn’t a good way to start the day.

Blackwater Dawn 53

Blackwater Dawn.

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-39 Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-38 Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-37 Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-36 Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-35 Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-34

 

Red Headed Woodpecker 2018-40

I seemed to see a Red Headed Woodpecker every time I turned around.

Red Winged Blackbird 2018-32

Red Winged Blackbird 2018-33

There were many vocal Red Winged Blackbirds.

Great Blue Heron 2018-40 Bald Eagle 2018-59

Bald Eagle 2018-58

Bald Eagles are still easy to find on Wildlife Drive.

Red Winged Blackbird 2018-31

Red Winged Blackbird 2018-30

This Red Winged Blackbird is feeding her chick.

Osprey 2018-35 Osprey 2018-34

Osprey 2018-36

This Osprey has two healthy chicks.

Eastern Kingbird 2018-15Eastern Kingbird 2018-17

Eastern Kingbird 2018-16

Eastern Kingbirds were plentiful.

Rabbit 31

Three Rabbits were feeding in the grass right in front of me.

Goldfinch at Bombay Hook.

My original plan was to try Blackwater this morning, but the car wanted Bombay Hook, so off I went.

It turned out to be the wrong choice. Not terribly bad, but not as good as recently. Apparently low water keeps the bird population down, so we need some rain.

I did manage to find a few decent birds, especially Terns and Goldfinches. I’ll keep an eye on the weather and try again when we’ve had some rain.

Bald Eagle 2018-55 Bald Eagle 2018-54 Bald Eagle 2018-53

Bald Eagle 2018-56

This juvenile was being harassed by Two Blackbirds, who eventually drove him from the area.

Forster's Tern 2018-83 Forster's Tern 2018-84 Forster's Tern 2018-82 Forster's Tern 2018-81 Forster's Tern 2018-80

Forster's Tern 2018-85

It’s difficult to capture these Forster’s Terns as they catch a fish.

Great Blue Heron 2018-38 Great Blue Heron 2018-37

Great Blue Heron 2018-39

There were many Great Blue Herons fishing today.

Great Egret 2018-43

There were far fewer Great Egrets today.

Goldfinch 2018-10 Goldfinch 2018-9

Goldfinch 2018-11

Goldfinches populate the area near the road.

Roseate Spoonbill at Walton Beach.

It’s getting very hot very early, so I planned a short day this morning. The Spoonbill is still hanging around at North Beach, so I decided to go early and see if I could get lucky.

I’ve actually been there twice before without seeing him, so it was a crapshoot.

Lucky me! Just as I got in place, he flew in from out of the marsh and landed on the pilings near the beach. He wasn’t as close as I wanted, but close enough. Interestingly, it was so humid that I had to clean the condensation from the lens after every shot. That lasted for 20 minutes.

I got tired of waiting for him to move closer, so I wandered around a bit looking for other birds, without much luck. I was considering leaving, and I was looking at closer birds (Many Mallards) when I checked the piling perch, and he was gone?

Looking about, I quickly saw he had landed on the beach about 30 feet from my position, and in good light. Patience and persistence paid off at last!

Black Duck 2018-2

This Black Duck is a rarity at this time of year.

Roseate Spoonbill 2018-13

He flew in at dawn.

Roseate Spoonbill 2018-7

The Roseate Spoonbill seemed to be interested in this snake, even though it’s not a normal menu item.

Roseate Spoonbill 2018-6 Roseate Spoonbill 2018-5 Roseate Spoonbill 2018-4 American Avocet 2018-11 Roseate Spoonbill 2018-10 Roseate Spoonbill 2018-12

 

Roseate Spoonbill 2018-8

Cornell: “The flamboyant Roseate Spoonbill looks like it came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book with its bright pink feathers, red eye staring out from a partly bald head, and giant spoon-shaped bill.”

 

Laughing Gull at Bombay Hook NWR.

It’s still pretty slow at the local spots, so I went back to Bombay Hook in hopes of finding something interesting. I actually didn’t find as much variety as last time, but there were plenty of birds and the light was good. It got seriously hot early, and I left sooner than usual, but it was worth it.

Egrets and Herons were well represented, and I heard Bob Whites in several places, but couldn’t get one to pose.

Mute Swan 2018-7

These Mute Swan Cygnets were a nice find, as I haven’t seen young Swans before.

Great Blue Heron 2018-34 Great Blue Heron 2018-33 Great Blue Heron 2018-32 Great Blue Heron 2018-30 Great Blue Heron 2018-31

Great Blue Heron 2018-35

I’ve been surprised several times at how large a fish a Great Blue Heron can swallow.

Great Egret 2018-41 Great Egret 2018-40 Great Egret 2018-39 Great Egret 2018-38Great Egret 2018-37

Great Egret 2018-42

I saw over a hundred Great Egrets.

Black Skimmer 2018-35 Black Skimmer 2018-32 Black Skimmer 2018-33 Black Skimmer 2018-31

Black Skimmer 2018-34

This close-up of a Black Skimmer’s beak shows the difference in length of the upper and lower beaks.

Glossy Ibis 2018-5 Glossy Ibis 2018-4 Glossy Ibis 2018-3

Glossy Ibis 2018-6

A small flock of Glossy Ibis was feeding in the marsh.

Bald Eagle 2018-51 Bald Eagle 2018-50 Bald Eagle 2018-49 Bald Eagle 2018-48

Bald Eagle 2018-52

This juvenile Bald Eagle wasn’t having much luck with his fishing.

Laughing Gull 2018-4 Laughing Gull 2018-2

Laughing Gull 2018-3

This Laughing Gull was acting like a Skimmer.